Sunday at my house is very often meal-prep-for-the-week day.
With my refrigerator and countertops loaded with fresh produce from my Saturday farmers’ market haul, I make an effort to get organized and prepared for the week to come. So I like to ensure we have a nice assortment of quick and healthy food choices for the week.
The lettuce, kale and other greens are run through the salad spinner and placed into food storage bins. Cabbage and carrots are shredded, and red onions and cucumbers are sliced, then placed into containers for quick salad toppers.
I also usually prepare some sort of large meal in the slow cooker. This week it was chicken and vegetable soup. Last week it was a hearty beef stew.
There are also a couple of pre-grilled chicken breasts, some cooked tofu, pre-roasted beets, maybe a pasta salad, some spring rolls and a pot of beans. Having a nice assortment of vegetables and protein for those with hectic schedules makes meal planning much easier.
One of the dishes I made this week was a very flavorful Cannellini Bean Salad. Sourced from Two Peas in a Pod Farm of Arroyo Grande, cannellini beans are one of my favorites for such salad, delivering a nice creamy texture, yet firm enough to hold up. The base of the salad is quite simple; cooked cannellini beans, red onion, celery, garlic and a good amount of fresh parsley for a refreshing presence.
Tossed in fresh lemon juice, olive oil, a little balsamic vinegar, and seasoned with salt and pepper, this salad can be enjoyed as a side dish, or turned into a meal all on its own. You can add roasted diced beets and/or diced avocado if you like.
Or you can toss with cabbage or kale, shredded carrot, diced tomato or add a little heat with some jalapeno as well. These versatile beans are a great find to start your week of right.
Cannellini Bean Salad
1 1/2 cups dried cannellini beans (or substitute one of your other favorites)
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 bay leaves
½ medium red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 celery ribs, diced
Juice from one lemon (use 2 if not very juicy)
2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped, discard large stem portion
Presoak your dried beans for 2 to 6 hours. Then rinse and place in a pot, covering with 3 inches of water above the beans. Add the seasoned salt and bay leaves.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer and cover. Cook for about 75 minutes or until tender. Strain liquid, discard bay leaves and let cool in the refrigerator.
In a mixing bowl, add onion, garlic, celery, lemon juice, olive oil and vinegar. Toss to coat. Then add beans, followed by the parsley and generally toss until well incorporated.
You can serve it as a side. Feel free to add any other ingredients you prefer.
Yield: Serves about 6.